New York Giants finalize deal to make Joe Judge head coach

The Saratogian (Saratoga, NY) - - SPORTS - By Tom Cana­van AP Sports Writer


New Eng­land Pa­tri­ots spe­cial teams co­or­di­na­tor and wide re­ceivers coach Joe Judge has been hired as the New York Giants head coach.

The Giants and rep­re­sen­ta­tives for Judge reached a con­tract agree­ment Wednesday, less than 24 hours af­ter the 38-year-old was of­fered the job and asked to turn around a fran­chise that has made the playoffs once since win­ning the Su­per Bowl in Fe­bru­ary 2012.

Judge suc­ceeds Pat Shur­mur, who was fired a week ago Mon­day af­ter win­ning nine games in two sea­sons.

“Over the past cou­ple of days we had great con­ver­sa­tions about where this team is and where it is headed and how we are go­ing to get there,” Judge said in a state­ment. “My job is to lead our play­ers and coaches. The mis­sion is clear, to win games.”

The hir­ing was sur­pris­ing be­cause Judge was not con­sid­ered a fa­vorite for the job. He had never been a head coach. How­ever, he had worked for

two of the top head coaches in foot­ball — Bill Belichick of the Pa­tri­ots and Nick Sa­ban of Alabama.

Co-owner John Mara said Judge was very im­pres­sive in his in­ter­view Mon­day.

“He knows what win­ning looks like and should look like,” Mara said. “His ex­po­sure and ex­pe­ri­ence in New Eng­land and Alabama have helped shape his phi­los­o­phy of build­ing a win­ning pro­gram and cul­ture. “The two men con­sid­ered the front run­ners for the Giants’ job opted to coach other teams.

For­mer Green Bay Pack­ers coach Mike McCarthy, who won a Su­per Bowl and went to the playoffs nine times in 12-plus sea­sons, ac­cepted the Dal­las Cow­boys’ job. He in­ter­viewed with the Giants last week.

Bay­lor coach Matt Rhule, a for­mer Giants as­sis­tant, was hired by the Carolina Pan­thers on Tues­day, the day he was sup­posed to in­ter­view with New York. The planned meet­ing never hap­pened.

It left the im­pres­sion the Giants set­tled for Judge, but the team feels it hired a young man who can trans­form a young team into a win­ner.

Be­fore the coach­ing search started last week, Mara and fel­low co-owner Steve Tisch had said they wanted to hire a leader.

“We had a great con­ver­sa­tion, and Joe ar­tic­u­lated his vi­sion of lead­er­ship and team build­ing,” Tisch said. “He clearly learned some valu­able lessons in both those ar­eas while work­ing with Bill Belichick and Nick Sa­ban. He is an im­pres­sive young leader.’’

Judge has won three Su­per Bowls (2014, ‘16 and ‘18 sea­sons) with New Eng­land in eight years as an as­sis­tant on Belichick’s staff.

Be­fore join­ing the Pa­tri­ots, he spent three years work­ing for Sa­ban. The for­mer Mis­sis­sippi State player won ti­tles with the Crim­son Tide in the 2009 and ‘11 sea­sons. He also coached at Mis­sis­sippi State and Birm­ing­ham­South­ern.

With Judge as spe­cial teams co­or­di­na­tor since 2015, New Eng­land con­sis­tently ranked as one of the NFL’s top units. He added re­ceivers to his re­spon­si­bil­i­ties in 2019. He coached kicker Stephen Gostkowski to the All-Pro team in 2015 and spe­cial teams cap­tain Matt Slater to the same honor in 2016 and this sea­son.

Com­ing to the Giants will give Judge the chance to work with quar­ter­back Daniel Jones, who had a good rookie sea­son, and run­ning back Saquon Barkley, the 2018 NFL Of­fen­sive Rookie of the Year.

He will also have to de­velop a young de­fense that was ranked among the worst in the league the past two sea­sons.

Judge will be the Giants’ fourth coach since Tom Cough­lin left af­ter the 2015 sea­son. Ben McA­doo was hired in 2016 and made the playoffs.


FILE - In this Oct. 10, 2019, file photo, New Eng­land Pa­tri­ots spe­cial teams coach Joe Judge, cen­ter, speaks to head coach Bill Belichick, left, and safeties coach Steve Belichick, right, in the sec­ond half of an NFL foot­ball game in Foxbor­ough, Mass.


FILE - In this Dec. 20, 2018, file photo, New Eng­land Pa­tri­ots head coach Bill Belichick, left, speaks with spe­cial teams coach Joe Judge, right, dur­ing NFL foot­ball prac­tice in Foxbor­ough, Mass.

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